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Defense

It Might Be Virtual, But It Is Not a Game

August 1, 2014
By Rita Boland

Virtual training for U.S. Army soldiers advanced in both capability and fidelity recently with the release of Virtual Battle Space 3. Designed for units at the company level or below, its flexibility makes it applicable to the range of Army missions, reducing costs and logistics needs for users.

Tackling Big Data With Small Projects

August 1, 2014
By George I. Seffers

U.S. Army officials envision a future in which ground and air platforms share data and where soldiers at a remote forward-operating base easily can access information from any sensor in the area, including national satellites or reconnaissance aircraft flying overhead.

U.S. Army Explores Push-Button Networking

August 1, 2014
By George I. Seffers

The U.S. Army’s current tactical network delivers a wide range of capabilities for warfighters, including unprecedented communications on the move. But the complexity can overwhelm commanders who have countless critical tasks to complete and soldiers’ lives in their hands. Future tactical networks will automate many processes and may be smart enough to advise commanders, similar to JARVIS, Iron Man’s computerized assistant.

The Army’s current networking technology includes Capability Set 13, a package of network components, associated equipment and software that provides an integrated capability from the tactical operations center to the dismounted soldier. It supports Army warfighters in Afghanistan and provides a host of capabilities not offered by the wide area network in use as recently as 2012. The Army has fielded the capability set down to the company commander level with a package known as the Soldier Network Extension, which delivers some challenges along with the added capabilities. “The company commander is trying to maneuver around the battlefield, and he’s trying to command a company, and he has these new pieces of kit that he has to learn how to use, and it’s complicated. That’s part of the problem,” says Jennifer Zbozny, chief engineer for the Army Program Executive Office for Command, Control and Communications-Tactical. “If you had an iPhone with an interface you didn’t understand, and you had to do a million things and log on a million different ways, you’d probably get tired of it and decide it’s not worth the effort.”

Defense Acquisition, Meet Moore’s Law

August 1, 2014
By M. Thomas Davis

The United States had a pressing need for a new defense capability. That was what many thought, but as is often the case in a democracy, not all agreed. The debate went on for some time, but it finally was settled, and Congress approved a large sum of money to design and field the new system.

Then, there followed additional debates: How many systems are needed? What are the key performance characteristics? Who should build it? After considerable, often contentious discussion, a request for proposals was published, responses came in and there was a selection. The selection, however, was not without controversy, and a protest was lodged. Once the protest was resolved, a contract was awarded that required production be spread to six different localities in six different states. The first efforts to gather the needed construction material were unsuccessful, leading to cost overruns, schedule delays and ultimately congressional hearings. Fortunately, at the end of this long and laborious effort, the system was delivered and proved to be world-class when tested in combat against a fully capable enemy.

Does this seem familiar? Is this story from recent experience? It could be the Joint Strike Fighter (JSF), or perhaps the Littoral Combat Ship, or maybe the Next Generation Jammer. But actually the story comes from Ian Toll’s fabulous book Six Frigates, which recounts in great detail the acquisition of the U.S. Navy’s first six combat vessels in the 1790s. One of those ships, the USS Constitution, known as “Old Ironsides,” still is moored in Boston Harbor, a continuing testimony that as tortuous and contentious as this early acquisition was, it succeeded.

CERDEC Supports U.S. Army Effort to Modernize Crypto Devices

July 9, 2014
By Sandra Jontz

A U.S. Army team is modernizing legacy cryptographic equipment at bases around the world to safeguard military information shared on already overhauled tactical networks.

Lockheed Martin to Support Iraqi Air Defense System

July 8, 2014

Lockheed Martin Corporation, Mission Systems and Training, Manassas, Virginia, has been awarded a not-to-exceed $11,645,964 undefinitized, firm-fixed-price, cost-plus-fixed-fee and cost-reimbursement contract. This contract provides contractor logistic support for the Iraqi Integrated Air Defense System. The scope of this effort includes engineering support services, on-site support, logistic management, technical support, preventative/corrective maintenance and engineering analysis and recommendations for logistical and lifecycle support for the IADS and equipment. The Air Force Life Cycle Management Center, Hanscom Air Force Base, Massachusetts, is the contracting activity (FA8730-14-C-0030).

Thales to Provide Sonar Transducers

July 8, 2014

Thales Defense & Security Incorporated, Clarksburg, Maryland, has been awarded a maximum $13,437,584 firm-fixed-price contract for purchase of sonar transducers. This is a three-year base contract with no option periods. Using military service is Navy. The contracting activity is the Defense Logistics Agency Aviation, Philadelphia (SPRPA1-14-C-Y048).

Boeing to Support Australian Electronic Warfare Aircraft

July 8, 2014

The Boeing Company, St. Louis, is being awarded $20,753,552 for delivery order 0201 against a previously issued basic ordering agreement (N00019-11-G-0001) for non-recurring engineering and associated program management, logistics and spares for the AEA-18G aircraft in support of the government of Australia under the Foreign Military Sales Program. The Naval Air Systems Command, Patuxent River, Maryland, is the contracting activity.

Spin Systems to Support U.S. Defense Department, Navy

July 8, 2014

Spin Systems Incorporated, Sterling, Virginia, is being awarded a $8,447,038 cost-plus-fixed-fee indefinite-delivery/indefinite-quantity contract (N00039-14-D-0009) for the technical refresh and deployment, and operations and sustainment of the Department of Defense Information Technology Portfolio Repository and the Department of the Navy Application and Database Management System information technology platform. The Space and Naval Warfare Systems Command, Sea Warrior Program (PMW 240), Arlington, Virginia, is the contracting activity (N00039-14-D-0009).

Northrop Grumman to Perform Hawkeye Fatigue Testing

July 8, 2014

Northrop Grumman Systems Corporation, Integrated Systems, Bethpage, New York, is being awarded a $52,444,840 cost-plus-fixed-fee contract for material and services to perform an equivalent flight hours fatigue test to substantiate the E-2D Advanced Hawkeye aircraft service life. The Naval Air Systems Command, Patuxent River, Maryland, is the contracting activity (N00019-14-C-0036).

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